1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dark Lord Imperial Stout - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Not Rated.
Dark Lord Imperial StoutDark Lord Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,522 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,522
Reviews: 1,172
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 2,851
Gots: 1,524 | FT: 101
Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
A demonic Russian-Style Imperial Stout brewed with coffee, Mexican vanilla, and Indian sugar, this beer defies description. Available one day a year, in April at the brewery: Dark Lord Day.

Vintage guide:
Red wax = 2004
Orange wax = 2005
Gold wax = 2006
Silver wax = 2007
Black wax = 2008
White wax = 2009
Green wax = 2010 - 15% ABV
Yellow wax = 2011 - 15% ABV
Red wax = 2012 - 15% ABV
Orange wax = 2013 - New Label 15% ABV
Blue wax - 2014 - 15% ABV

(Beer added by: cretemixer on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Lord Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,522 | Reviews: 1,172 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intense, slow drink. Gorgeous dark colour. Sweet sour. Bitter at first, Roasty finish. Chocolate malt subdued to roasty Starbucks coffee. Alcohol clobbers later. Very smooth. Medium-thick mouthfeel. Had 2011, and it is good but very sugary.Averaging my 4 ratings over the years.

Photo of triplecoil
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a small wine glass.

Appearance is pitch black with some ruby highlights at the rim and no head to speak (probably the way we poured). Nose is burnt fruit, alcohol, prunes, port. Taste is burnt malt (and lots of it), some over-ripe fruit, raisins, milk chocolate, some mild hop aftertaste and alcohol. Mouthfeel is very viscous with mild bubbles and a lingering burned malt flavor.

A good brew, very mildly reminiscent of Sam Adam's Triplebock in some respects. I would have it again, but it is certainly immensely overrated.

Photo of supercolter
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance is very good. A deep deep black that sheds no light. Pours like oil. Smell is good as well. Some nice figs, coffee, curant and alchohol come through. Taste is very similar but there is the typical underlying "bacon greasy" taste. Mouthfeel is out of this world good. Heavy heavy beer with some carbonation. Oily and slightly sticky. Drinkability is average- I've had more drinkable RIS's but this one is very good for what it is.

Photo of hotmanflab666
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what can i say about the darklord, most look at this like a gigantic stout, which it is. but not the best of all of them, darklord is a very good but rough drink. very hot and strong rigid complex flavors, i drank out of brandy sifter. very good, just split the bottle with a friend

Photo of mrmanning
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy, and hanks to the very generoue Philip! Thanks my friend! 05 Bottle/Orange wax- I’ve been sitting on this one for about 8 months now, and I felt it was time to treat myself. Pours a pitch black oily abyss with a frothed cap of mocha evil. Lots of spotty lace and dusting. Enormous coffee/coffee bean/double espresso aroma with some dark rum, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, burboun, and american hops.Big big bad deep rooted espresso flavours are accompanied by lots of dark chocolate, woodsy earthy booziness, vanilla extract, dark rum, and lots of bittering hops. FInishes HUGE, dry as the desert, chalky, and assertive. I like it. Once again, thank you so much Phil for saving this, and trading it to me last year. I appreciate the opportunity!

Photo of liquidcraft
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 2010 with a couple friends on an auspicious occasion. Poured very viscous resulting in a thin tan head, light did not penetrate. A deep black you'd expect from the beer.
Coffee is very present, accompanied with the sweetness of dark fruits. Enticing.
The texture is exactly what I had hoped for, super thick. It has the coating effect of nyquil. The taste follows the expectations of the beer's nose. Coffee, chocolate, a roasty dark fruit flavor; very sweet. Its got this sweet and boozy finish that I'm not crazy about, but the up front flavors are worth coming back for sip after sip. Glad I'm splitting it, it'd have to be a cold winter night by a fire for me to finish this whole thing alone.

Made a couple hour trek and spent enough time in line that I really wanted to love this beer. Darklord Day was a good time and I plan to go back next year so I'd say it was worth it. The beer's rating among the best in the world is deserved.

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer #4 in our Cinco de Mayo mini tasting.

A- Pours a pitch black with no light making its way through. A small, half finger worth of head that was mocha in color. No lacing left on the glass.

S- heavy roasted malts, small amounts of coffee and toffee. Small amounts of black licorice. For being 15%, the alcohol barely makes its self noticeable.

T- Big roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar and some black licorice. The alcohol is very well hidden under a good complexity of flavors.

M- Full bodied with a pretty smooth and minimal burn from the alcohol. The beer just coats the mouth. The carbonation is spot on for the style.

D- Definitely a sipper. The alcohol is fairly well subdued. Pretty balanced for a big stout. I want to put some age on this so it was nice to see what it tastes like fresh. I waited in line twice for this beer and am not disappointed at all.

Photo of JISurfer
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Big thanks to Paco for this one. I've been wanting to try it for so long, but it's never made it's way down here. This was the 2009 edition. Anyway, had it to celebrate the doc's words that my wife and I will be having a girl in November. Yeah, I know, it's called Dark Lord, but it's a special beer to me.

Appearance was great to start off. Had a very thick head, as it cascaded after I poured it. Somewhat like a Guiness. After that, it died out to a very thin lacing, plus it was jet black in color, no light getting through it. Smell was super malty, plus had almost a merlot type quality to it. No real detection of alcohol. Taste was big and thick! The more it warmed up, the more the alcohol taste subsided, it was almost undetectable, which is very impressive considering it's a whooping 13%. Obviously, since this was so rich and thick, it was somewhat hard to drink by myself. I actually had to drink half one day and the other half another day. I shutter to think about how many calories are in this.

Photo of SwillinBrew
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this several times from trades.

Wow, what a pour. Deep brown ink and motor oil with a creamy finger of coffee bean colored lace, quite dense. Giving it a swirl shows great legs down my glass. Aromas of chocolate covered cherries, burnt toast, madeira and cocoa waff up from my chalice.

Quite the treat on the palate. Warm chewey earth flavors of figs, raisins, charred dinner rolls, cocoa, molasses with warm alcohol on the finish. I also detected faint anise at the end. Quite viscous on the tongue, heavy and lip smacking chewey. A true sipping beer. This is a fine RIS however i think the price is a bit prohibitive. Don't get me wrong, this is a great RIS but i can get 3 Stone RIS for the price of this one and be just as happy. You do have to try this.

Photo of nmbr0ne
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured into snifter.

Appearance: Dark black body with a tiny head. Little to no lacing though after the head dissipates.

Smell: A strong boozy smell slightly burns the nostrils. Coffee and chocolate notes, but not as roasty as I would like. You can definitely tell it's a high alcohol beer.

Taste: Sweet. Maybe even too sweet. I can detect the coffee and chocolate, but it is overwhelmed by the sweetness. Doesn't taste as boozy as it smells.

Mouthfeel: Slight burn of the alcohol in the finish. Great beer to warm up with. Decent carbonation. Thick body.

Overall: The beer would be a lot better if it wasn't so sweet. I think that's what put it over the top for me. The flavors are good, but I can't get past the sweetness. It's also missing more roasted notes.

Photo of pavyaz19
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Unfortunately Russian Imperial Stouts are not at the top of my personal list, probably for drinkability reasons. You have to know what you're getting into with these, and as a rookie beer drinker / brewer, I was in for a surprise.

There's so much hype about this beer that I did everything I could to get a hold of one in '09. It was well worth it. The mythical aura around it was the basis for a great experience and drinking it was the icing on the cake.

It is so dark and thick it's ridiculous. It's like a liquified everlasting gobstopper when it comes to flavor - there is just so much going on.

I split a bottle with a friend and I think even that was too much to handle. Again, that was extremely early in my beer drinking career. I was able to get four bottles of the '09 immediately after Dark Lord Day. Now I have three left in a deep dark place under lock and key... it's sitting there, growing, mutating, living, breathing, just waiting to explode back into the word. I can't wait to drink the next one but each day that goes by I pat myself on the back for letting it mature just a little more. Though I fear if I wait too long with that dark, powerful stuff... I'll only be left with a bottle full of diamonds.

Now I have 2010 on the way, what a wonderful time to be alive.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We did a complete vertical 2004-2011 on 9/23/11. Thanks to everyone who provided - it was quite the night. I reviewed the 2004, 2009, and 2011. I used the 2011 reviews since I preferred it to the other vintages.

A: Black. Very, very light carb. 3.5
S: Strong smoke and soy sauce. Light licorice with some dark chocolate. 2.5
T: Slight smoke, oxidized, quite mellow. Not really much flavor left. Certainly past its prime. 2
M: A bit less thick than the other DLs, but pretty good. 3.5
O: Definitely past its prime. 2.5

A: Black, thin ring of very dark head. 4
S: Strong licorice with some dark chocolate. 4
T: Strong toffee and chocolate. Light licorice flavor. 4
M: Very nice - thick, light carbonation. 4.5
O: A bit strong on the licorice for my taste, but good for the style. 3.5

A: Black with thin dark head. 4.5
S: Very nice, roast with vanilla and light hops. 4
T: Molasses, chocolate, slight hop biterness. Moderate roast flavor. 4
M: Thick with a bit more carbonation than the other vintages. 4
O: Best of all the vintages in my opinion. I think this is because I tend to like DL younger, not because this vintage is so much better. 4

Photo of JulioH
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very boozy beer, very strong alcohol taste from the beginning.

Pours a nice dark beer. Very little bubbles form. Aroma is very strong, like alcohol, chocolate, cognac. Taste is very rough. Taste like alcohol, like a very boozy beer that didn't have a chance to smooth out. Some other flavors float around, but the headiness is disturbing. Not the best, yet an iconic beer due to rarity.

Photo of Kino
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of Wsherry1
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Three Floyds- Dark Lord

Huge THANKS to Pimpp(Patrick) for this 1!
Review #1000!

A- Thick black with sticky carbonation on the sides and a huge frothy creamy tan head. Beautiful looking beer. I gave it a rough pour.
S- Big thick chocolate with heavy doses of sugary rock candy, dried fruits like; cherry, plum, and grape, and hints of caramel/ toffee.
T- Sweet cherry, raisin, and plum hits you immediately. Vanilla and caramel with a big mild dark chocolate body follow up the initial sweetness. Flavors blend and balance out in the end.
M- Very sweet up front with a buttery chocolately body and a creamy smooth, slightly hot alc. finish. This 1 starts off a little too sweet but mellows out half way through.

Overall- Lives up to the hype, thats for sure! Very tasty, this should be a year round release. Hopefully I'll attend 2009's DL day!
(Again, can't thank my buddy Patrick enough for, this and, all the other great beers he sent me!)

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass vintage 2012. Big thanks to Wade5614 for the trade, and Exiled for the advice.

Into the snifter, it pours out chestnut brown, hitting the glass body and barely making a head at all of a simple tan light brown, fading under some faint snapping carbonation. Leaves a little filmy top and can't hang on, giving just a faint collar, with some nice leg action also and scattered leopard lacing barely.

Nose is quite interesting, suprinsingly not hot, mild roast character and dark red fruits. Cherry and raspberry, some dark chocolate and even some sensations of sea salt, maybe even caramel. Quite intriguing and nice, makes me love this salt and chocolate combo which is a favorite of mine.

Palate hits with a tight fizz at first that doesn't seem noticeable after numerous sips later. Extremely thick and syrupy and liqueur like palate. Memories of raspberry syrup hit, maybe some licorice, and then it's full on Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Roast character takes a bit of back seat with quaffs. Syrup sweetness is quite big but in the context of how the liquor feels it comes off as a digestif and seems to work. Roast lingers slightly and rushes dark fruit toward the end with also a sense of alcohol bitterness (bitters, digsetif, etc...).

Overall it's really sweet for my tastes but tolerable, and also fun. Quite an interesting ride, glad to have given it a whirl. It's a sipper which doesn't always appeal to me for beer, but it's without question worth drinking.

Photo of dren
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours like motor oil. Smells of cherry, a little chocolate, coffee notes. Tastes the same, very strong sweet cherry flavors but they melt well with the chocolate backdrops. A slight smoked coffee flavor after the rush of cherry and then some bourbon and oak. The flavor is very robust with a long pleasing aftertaste. It's like I'm eating a rich chocolate cake. A very full boddied beer, and I'd say the most full boddied I have had. While this beer was extremely good tasting it was hard to drink because of the weight. I hate to say this but I would rather have a half pint of the stuff for dessert. Finishing an entire bottle would be a chore. I am glad I wasn't the one waiting in line for this brew. It's good but not worth the wait unless you are completely obsessed with stouts, which I am not. The beer does hold up to its expectations as far as tastes go.

Photo of Yesac
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage - thanks to jwinship83

A- Pours solid black. No head. Small brown ring around the edges.

S- Dark smokey chocolate malts, dark fruits. Sweet brown sugar.

T- Very sweet, dark fruits. Chocolate and roasted malts. The 13% is absolutely nowhere present.

M- Extremely thick. Very unique and actually tough to get down.

D- Incredibly smooth. Nice even coating on the palate. However, the thickness and sweetness make this not the easiest to drink, I was let down to the hype of this brew.

2010 Vintage - thanks again jwinship83

A- (4) Pours very dark brown and appears jet black in the glass. Medium sized light tan head cascades and builds after the pour but fades away quickly to a think unorganized layer.

S (3.5)- Bold dry malt, smokeness

T (4)- Sweet malt, molasses, slight dark fruit, high ABV, some caremel and java.

M (4)- Medium/thick. Decent coating on the palate, slighty sticky finsh.

D (3.5)- High ABV presences, molasses. I'd rather have other imperial stouts.

Photo of waltonc
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle.

A: Viscous oily black, with small tan head.

S: Soy sauce, chocolate, molasses, salted caramel, super deep roasted coffee, and thickness. Yes, this smells thick.

T: Again, soy sauce is the first thing that comes to mind. Burnt, salty soy. Molasses, chocolate, maybe a little vanilla, and coffee. Lots of sugar in here.

M: Thick, sticky, beef jerky-like body, with medium carbonation. Carbonation is just right.

D: Can't drink a ton of this. Heavy, thick, sweet, and high ABV = not the most drinkable of beers.

Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a mug.

2010 vintage. This beast is killing off draft night. Boom-shaka-laka. It isn't the shoes, it's the Dark Lord. It pours a nearly completely opaque black brown, with some very faint highlights of rich garnet showing through at the base and on the edges. The nose comprises walnuts, dark chocolate, molasses, maple syrup, alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, black cherries, and a hint of oak. A buddy of mine claims he smells death in there as well, but the last time that hooded fuck came 'round...well, the less said about that, the better we all will be. The taste holds notes of chocolate syrup, maple syrup, Maraschino cherries (syrup and all, baby), coffee, cinnamon sticks. Lagavulin, cough syrup (damn, there's a lot o' syrup in here...), and some figs. The sweetness is ramped up a bit, as is the semi-tartness of the fruit. The body is pretty hefty, with a very light carbonation and a pretty chewy feel. Overall, a very nice, beastly stout, worthy of some of the hype, but not necessarily all of it. Good times, regardless.

Photo of scottfrie
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Green waxed 2010 vintage poured into Portsmouth snifter. Thanks a ton for trading me this one Mark.

A: Pours super black with a thin, fuzzy, dark brown head that disappeared after a few moments.
S: Super sweet and boozy smelling with a hint of chocolate and acetone.
T: Very sweet with dominant notes of black licorice, anise, and molasses. Dark fruits, raisins and caramel are all there as well. The sweetness is reminiscent brown sugar in addition to the big molasses flavor. The finish is a bit roasted, and aftertaste is full of chocolate and warm alcohol.
M: Thick mouthfeel and body. Very thick. Syrupy thick. Alcoholic and viscous mouthfeel.
O: Super sweet and syrupy with a big licorice flavor. This was good, and I look forward to the day I crack my other bottle, but I don’t think it’s worth the entire amount of hype surrounding it. Some of the hype yes, but this isn’t the best stout in the world. Thanks you so much for the bottle, HosP!

Photo of Nightwish1094
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of wordemupg
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review 1500!!! ya me!!! 650ml red waxed bottle (2012) poured into tulip 22/10/12 thanks Masterski and Sean9689 for sending me a bottle

A its dark but not jet black, deep cola edge and I didn't expect much foam from a beer this big but it almost pours flat, a dark thin films gone in seconds zero lace.

S chocolate fudge with some raisins, prunes, cherry, smoke, coffee, molasses and a little booze but all things considered its pretty mellow, some leather and tobacco as it warms

T sweeter then the smell, some chocolate liqueur, and lacking some of the complexity of the nose, its good but I was hoping for more with all the hype behind this one

M its thick and no heat impresses me in a beer this strong, could use a few more bubbles but again I didn't expect much carbonation in such a massive beer, VERY sticky on the lips and it takes a little strength to open my mouth

O I'm surprised how well they managed to hide the booze and its good beer overall but I was expecting much more, its Darklord after all.

Good with no questions but for a beer that I'm giving a 4+ rating I still have to admit I'm a little disappointed, I like it and would drink it again but I can think of many better brews that are much easier to acquire

Photo of Steigede
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 year. Poured very dark, beautiful tan head, very viscous almost syrupy. Tastes of plum, chocolate, coffee, soy sauce (I think this may have been due to the alcohol content?, dark fruits. VERY intense flavors. I do not think I could finish a bottle on my own if I really tried. Smelled amazing. Great experience. Could taste residual alcohol. I'm looking forward to tasting it after aging to see if these intense flavors mellow out.

Dark Lord Imperial Stout from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
96 out of 100 based on 3,522 ratings.